My first car was a Triumph and came with a gunshot hole - What was yours?
The first car I was lucky enough to drive was back in 1997, as soon as I turned 17. I couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel and will always remember those words from my dad “always remember a car is a lethal weapon”.
Shortly after the L plates were on and I was behind the wheel of dad’s Triumph Acclaim! It was a 1.4l Honda engine, 4-speed manual box. The world and roads were waiting for me and I was raring to go. We even had mum in the back, holding tight! Off we went, pretty smoothly for a while, until getting in the wrong lane at a junction, dad shouting mum telling him not too ... and that was the end of dad teaching me to drive. An instructor would be needed.
6 months later I had my license! I went home got the car, ripped off the L plates, no P plates - my view was you can either drive or you can’t! I was straight off to dads works to tell him I’d passed and driven there in the process!
It was school holidays and the week after four of us piled in and we were off to the cinema! I was the only one who could drive! The film? Well we went twice - Mr Bean and Men in Black, but it didn’t matter - I could drive and my friends were impressed with my (ahem dads) car!
Once back at school I would pick up a friend who lived a few roads down, drive across town and pick up another before heading to school. The latter even paid my fuel, which was less than his bus fare and good for me, even if it was when a litre cost under 80p!
Being one of the first in my year with a license and a car to boot meant I was quite popular, that was a change! But one I’d roll with. I would give people lifts to the shops and town, it was great.
The car went... and it went quick. It was capable, not that I did, of hitting 30mph from a standing start at the lights before clearing the yellow grid on the junction. Not fast by today’s standards but at 17 and in 1997 it was like greased lightening!
Soon however my car would become known amongst my friends for a very different reason. A gunshot hole! No, I hadn’t been driving in South America with a dubious number plate, it was under the passenger side wing mirror. OK so it wasn’t a real gunshot but that’s what my friends dubbed it, making my car now ‘gangsta’. What was it really? A rust hole, but that’s not nearly as exciting so we’ll keep it as a gunshot hole!
Unfortunately as dad has a work van the car had been left to sit most of the time only being used at weekends before I started to use it. The result was a car starting to struggle with rust. We did however keep it under control for a few years more.
Sadly on a trip back from Silverstone to Reading one fateful day she became stuck in gear. I’ve no idea how I managed to drive 20 miles in one gear, third I think, including through the traffic. But upon return and inspection it was decided that the Triumph Acclaim would have to join the scrap heap, gunshot hole included.
That Honda engine though, that still remained and that, that was bullet proof!